Eelgrass

Eelgrass bed at Scorpion Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park
Eelgrass bed at Scorpion Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park

NPS

Common Name
Eelgrass

Scientific Name
Zostera sp.

Habitat
Soft or sandy, sheltered seafloor environments

Additional Information
Eelgrass is a type of marine, flowering seagrass that exists in temperate zones around the world. It thrives in soft seafloor environments, typically in shallow bays and estuaries. In Channel Islands National Park, large eelgrass beds occur off of Anacapa, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa Islands. The eelgrass species along the southern California coast, including Channel Islands National Park, is a distinct species (Zostera pacifica) from the one commonly found in bays and estuaries along most of the west coast (Zostera marina). The Channel Islands variety is unique in that it has broader leaves and does not usually occur in bays.

Kelp bass in eelgrass habitat at Scorpion Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island.
Kelp bass in eelgrass habitat at Scorpion Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park.

Adam Obaza / NOAA

Some of the many species that can be found in the eelgrass beds include snails, sea stars, anemones, crabs and clams. Sand stars, bat stars, and wavy top snails are common in certain spots around the Channel Islands. Kelp bass, senoritas, and many kinds of perch are among the most common fish.

Last updated: August 13, 2015